Students, parents tour Connellsville's newest elementary school

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 6:54 p.m.

The doors of West Crawford Elementary School in Connellsville were opened to parents and students on Wednesday, the first tour of the newly renovated former junior high.

Parents and students took time to visit new classes and meet teachers.

And there was excitement in the halls and the classrooms.

“I think this is really nice and I like it,” said parent Stacey Wadsworth, whose daughter Madison will be entering the second grade at the school. “I was a little nervous at first, but I think that this is going to be just fine.”

And her daughter summed it up in four words.

“I like it here,” Madison Wadsworth, 7, said.

Connellsville Area School Board opted to close Zachariah Connell Elementary School. Students from that school will now attend the West Crawford Elementary School, which was formerly known as Connellsville Junior High West. The school was renovated to meet the needs of elementary-age students.

Students who attended Junior High West now attend Connellsville Junior High, the former Connellsville Junior High East.

The new facility is larger than the previous school and each child will now be given their own locker, a big plus in many of their eyes.

“She is really excited that she is getting her own locker,” said Melissa O'Donnell of daughter Kylee O'Donnell, who will be entering the first grade at the school. “I think that this is going to be really nice. There is a lot more room here and a lot more opportunities.”

“We want to make sure that everyone is comfortable here,” Principal Traci Kuhns told students and parents. “We are very excited.”

Kuhns discusses several issues that concerned parents, including school bus stops.

She told parents stops listed nearest to their residence would be the appropriate one for their child, but if there were any questions or concerns to check with the office.

“We want everyone to know where they are going,” Kuhns said.

Kuhns said it is recommended that all students ride the bus, especially on the first day, so they can see which children will be riding which bus.

Any parents who are driving their children in the morning for drop-off are to stay in a single lane behind any buses that may be parked or dropping off students at the front of the school.

“You have to line up single file,” Kuhns told. “We don't want any children crossing through traffic.”

Students who are being driven are not to be brought to the school prior to 9 a.m. Kuhns said students should be dropped off between 9 and 9:45 a.m.

Students being picked up after school will be picked up in the back lot after 3:15 p.m.

Any changes at all in arrivals or departures, such as a student taking a different bus or picked up early, must be approved. Parents or guardians must provide to the school a handwritten note at the beginning of the day. It can be presented to a teacher or the office by the child. Anyone who is picking up a child early must present identification.

“Please do not be offended if we ask for ID,” Kuhns said. “We want to make sure that we are giving your child to the right person.”

Kuhns also told the parents and students that she was lenient with the dress code, however, spaghetti straps and flip flops would not be allowed.

“Don't show up in flip flops because you will not be allowed to take gym or use the playground because we see too many injuries that way,” Kuhns said.

“If you have any questions, please ask us now,” Kuhns said. “I want you to walk around, look around and see if you have any questions now so we can talk about them.”

Parents are being asked to update any change in phone number or address at the office.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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